The Muse and Music
In "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," by John Milton, the musical references enhance the reader's perspective. The music shows the reader more fully the feelings of the speaker. In "L'Allegro," the music is shown to be a simple melody, devoid of harmony and complexities, to fill the reader's mind with a view of happiness and simplicity. In "Il Penseroso," however, the music is has the harmony added to the melody, which makes it more complex and full to show the speaker's state of meditation and melancholy.
Milton knows that simple melodies are easily understood as he makes references to music in "L'Allegro." The speaker tells of sounds ...view middle of the document...
Through the peace the speaker feels from these sounds of joy, he feels as though he could take those tales of pain and give them all happy endings.
"Il Penseroso" and "L'Allegro" are very similar in the aspect of using music to more fully involve the reader with the speaker's feelings. The types of music that are described in the two works show the state of the speaker's mind. In "L'Allegro" the speaker uses the sounds of day arising, and the sounds of people cheerfully performing their everyday tasks to show the happiness that he feels inside. In "Il Penseroso" the speaker uses the full-bodied sounds of choirs, and organs to show his deeply meditative state. The use of the music is similar, but the music itself, and the feelings it gives the speaker and shows to the reader are very different.
"Il Penseroso," or the melancholy man, gives the reader a different type of music, as well as the speaker's mood, to view. The speaker tells of full-bodied, deep sounding instruments,
I hear the far-off Curfeu sound,
Over som wide-water'd shoar,
Swinging slow with sullen roar. (74-76)
These instruments, and sounds, give us a feeling of thoughtfulness, and meditation. The reader is looking for answers or reconciliation on some matter that he is facing. He feels that if he surrounds himself with these sounds then he will receive the message that he is waiting for,
The Cherub Contemplation,